Hotel managers are in high demand and there are plenty of jobs to go around. Here are six reasons graduates should consider a career in hotel management and how to get a job
Heavily overlapping with the travel and tourism sector, the hospitality industry is one of the largest employers in the UK, but a range of job opportunities isn't the only attraction.
1. Early responsibility
Hotel managers are responsible for each and every aspect of the hotel that they work for, from front-of-house departments such as reception and concierge services to housekeeping, maintenance and catering. Behind the scenes responsibilities include hiring staff, managing budgets, taking care of public relations and setting sales targets.
'Hospitality is one of the few sectors where you can take early responsibility and achieve a management position at a relatively young age,' says Gaurav Chawla, senior lecturer in hotel and hospitality management at the University of South Wales.
On the job training is a feature of this role and opportunities for promotion occur on a regular basis. 'Fast growth and career development opportunities are excellent reasons to consider a career in hotel management,' adds Rachel Banks, learning and development manager at The Savoy hotel, London. 'Candidates who can demonstrate initiative and the ability to work well in a team move up the career ladder quickly. Here at The Savoy we have around 150 transfers and promotions a year.'
2. Salary potential
Traditionally salaries within the hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors are lower than those in other industries. However there are still certain roles in these sectors that can prove financially lucrative.
Starting salaries for hotel managers are in the region of £20,000 to £40,000 depending on the location and size of the hotel. In London, general managers earn, on average, £85,000 with a range of £50,000 to £200,000 for the largest, most prestigious hotels.
'No day will be the same as there is always great diversity in the work you carry out, the people you work with and the guests that you meet,' explains Rachel. 'The challenge of all this diversity is enticing and you can guarantee that you will learn something new every day.'
Opportunities within hotel management are endless and to make the most of them you'll need to be flexible. You could work for an independent or chain hotel, become a general manager or manage specific departments, and work in a variety of locations such as big cities or coastal areas. You'll get to tackle new challenges every day and meet and make connections with people from all over the world. If you're after a standard Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm job, hotel management probably isn't for you.
4. Job satisfaction
As a hotel manager your job is about people and you therefore need to be a people person. Your aim is to ensure that every guest's stay is as pleasant and enjoyable as possible and that the highest standards of customer service are met. In short it's your job to make people happy.
Knowing that this has been successfully achieved through positive feedback and good reviews will bring you a great sense of job satisfaction and will spur you on to achieve even better results.
5. Creative input
In order to thrive and grow the hospitality and tourism industries need creative people. To succeed as a hotel manager you'll need to be able to come up with and implement new ideas on a regular basis, such as themed afternoon teas or guided tours in order to improve the service that you provide.
'Each guest is different and so are their needs. In this role you are always creating a product, be this a new recipe for the restaurant, innovative cocktail for the bar or the overall guest experience. There is always scope to be inventive,' says Gaurav.
It often takes hard work to get new initiatives off the ground but since guest experience is a major part of a hotels success, employers are generally open to creative suggestions, especially if they will enhance or improve the organisation's reputation.
6. The chance to travel
Hospitality, travel and tourism opportunities, including jobs in hotel management, exist in countries all over the world. If you work as a manager for a large chain hotel you'll have the chance to travel not only locally and nationally, but also internationally.
'One reason people choose our industry is for the opportunity to travel. A lot of colleagues at The Savoy have come from all over the globe and love sharing their experiences,' says Rachel.
'The industry is truly global,' agrees Gaurav. 'It offers the opportunity to travel to (and work in) some of the most exotic locations on the planet.'
How to get a hotel management job
One of the quickest routes to a job in hotel management is through an undergraduate degree. There's an array of Bachelors courses on offer covering both hotel and hospitality management at various universities across the UK. One such offering is the recently launched BA in Hotel and Hospitality Management at the University of South Wales. The course started in September 2017 with the aim of addressing the skills gap in the sector.
'The course helps to provide students with a well-rounded learning experience, while highlighting various dimensions of hospitality management,' explains Gaurav. 'The programme is vocational, reflecting the nature of the hospitality sector and therefore students are required to spend a significant amount of time gaining practical experience in the workplace.
'The programme develops transferable skills that are much in demand, not only in the hospitality industry but also more widely in the service sector.'
What's more, an undergraduate degree is the minimum requirement for graduate schemes. Many large hotel chains provide this entry route, where you'll typically start as an assistant general or departmental manager.
Discover what else you can do with a degree in hospitality management.
While a Masters isn't usually a requirement for the job, it could help you stand out to employers in this competitive area. A postgraduate qualification in hotel management may also prove useful to those with an unrelated first degree. Search for postgraduate courses in hotel management.
It is possible to get into hotel management without a degree, HND or foundation degree but in these circumstances employers usually expect a lot of experience in a similar role and setting. Alternatively, if you don't have any relevant qualifications you can start at the bottom and work your way up. In large hotel chains it isn't unheard of for porters and front-of-house reception staff to climb the ladder to become hotel managers, but this can take a considerable amount of time and training.
An apprenticeship in hospitality management is also available. This level 4, higher apprenticeship provides you with nationally-recognised qualifications and skills and can lead to a career as a deputy general manager, front office manager, operations manager or unit manager. To find out more about available schemes and how to apply see apprenticeships.